In A Nutshell

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Last night’s presidential debate: Without the finger-pointing, tangents, and canned stump speech fragments, it’s quite a short transcript.  Here, ONLY the answers that the candidates gave to the questions that were actually posed:
Question: With retired and older citizens and workers losing their incomes, what’s the fastest, most positive solution to bail these people out of the economic ruin?
Obama: Make sure the bailout that was passed last week works properly. That means strong oversight, making sure that taxpayers are getting their money back and treated as investors. Make sure CEO’s are not getting bonuses or golden parachutes from this bailout. The Treasury should demand that money back and those executives should be fired.  Also, tax cuts for the middle-class.  Help homeowners so that they can stay in their homes.  Help state and local governments set up road projects and bridge projects that keep people in their jobs.  Fix our health care system and our energy system
McCain: Stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much.  Keep taxes low.  Stop spending.  Order the secretary of the treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages and renegotiate at the diminished value of those homes and let people be able to make those lower payments instead of what they actually owe. Taxpayers will pay the difference.
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Q: Who will you appoint to be treasury secretary?
McCain: Warren Buffett [chairman of Berkshire Hathaway] or Meg Whitman [former CEO of eBay].
Obama: I won’t answer the question.
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Q: How will the bailout package help people?
McCain: Taxpayers will be the first to be paid back when our economy recovers.  It will stabilize markets and shore up Fannie and Freddie.
Obama: It will help free up credit.  It can bailout homeowners who made bad loans.
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Q: Is the economy going to get much worse before it gets better?
Obama: No.
McCain: Not if taxpayers buy up these bad loans, so that the people who bought more house than they can afford, can keep their houses.

Q: How can we trust either of you with our money when both parties got us into this global economic crisis?
Obama: Democrat Bill Clinton built up surpluses, so you can trust me because I’m a Democrat.
McCain: I have taken on special interests in the past. I have reached across the aisle to work on campaign finance reform and climate change. I have taken on the leaders of my party. Go to some watchdog organizations and look at the voting records.

Q: Health care, energy, and Social Security/Medicare reform. In what order would you prioritize them?
McCain: I would not prioritize them.
Obama: Energy then Health Care 

Q: As president, what sacrifices will you ask Americans to make?
McCain: Accept the elimination of programs that aren’t working, like in defense spending. Accept that spending is going to have to be cut and frozen except for defense, Veterans Affairs, and some other vital programs.
Obama: I’ll ask them to think about how to save energy. I’ll double the Peace Corps and create a domestic volunteer corps.

Q: How would you break the bad habits of too much debt and too much easy credit, not just at the federal level, but as a model for citizens, as well? 
Obama: Lead by example by not letting the federal government run up trillion dollar debts. Cut some spending
McCain: By not raising taxes, by doubling the tax exemption for every child, and by giving a $5,000 tax credit for health insurance.

Q: Would you give Congress a date certain to reform Social Security and Medicare within two years after you take office?
Obama: No.
McCain: I won’t answer this question.

Q: What would you do within the first two years to make sure that Congress moves fast on environmental issues?
McCain: Nuclear power.
Obama: Make investments in solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear power.

Q: Should we fund one big Manhattan-like project to deal with alternative energy or should we fund 100,000 garages across America?
McCain: Manhattan Project.
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Q: Do you believe health care should be treated as a commodity?
Obama: I won’t answer this question.
McCain: I won’t answer this question.
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Q: Is health care a privilege, a right, or a responsibility?
McCain: A responsibility.
Obama: A right.
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Q: How will the recent economic stress affect our nation’s ability to act as a peacemaker?
McCain: I won’t answer this question.
Obama: I won’t answer this question.
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Q: What would be your policy for the use of force that the U.S. would send when we don’t have national security issues at stake?
Obama: In cases of genocide we should intervene where possible such as, by providing logistical support and no-fly zones.
McCain: We should do whatever we can to prevent genocide, but temper decisions to act by examining our ability to beneficially affect the situation.

Q: Should the United States pursue al Qaeda terrorists in Pakistani bases? 
Obama: Yes
McCain: Yes

Q: Will you reorganize the Afghanistan strategy and, if so, how?
Obama: Put additional troops in Afghanistan. Work with Karzai.
McCain: Double the size of the Afghan army. Streamline the NATO command structure. Work with the Pakistanis. Surge, secure, and hold.
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Q: How can we apply pressure to Russia for humanitarian issues without starting another Cold War?
McCain: Show moral support for Georgia and Ukraine. Advocate for their membership in NATO. Bring international pressures to bear on Russia. Use leverage: economic, diplomatic and others, in unison, with our allies.
Obama: Provide former Soviet satellites with financial and concrete assistance. Be more strategic. Reduce our energy consumption, so Russia has fewer petro-dollars to work with, and we are relatively stronger.
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Q: Do you think that Russia under Vladimir Putin is an evil empire?
Obama: Pretty much yes.
McCain: Maybe.
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Q: If Iran attacks Israel, would you be willing to commit U.S. troops in support and defense of Israel?
McCain: Yes.
Obama: I will not answer this question.
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Q: What don’t you know and how will you learn it?
Obama: I will not answer this question.
McCain: I don’t know what the unexpected will be.
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